'Pent up demand' leads to big boost in home sales across B.C.'s Lower Mainland

'Pent up demand' leads to big boost in home sales across B.C.'s Lower Mainland

Written by David Molko

VANCOUVER -- Home sales across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley reached levels far above what's typically seen in July, according to data released Wednesday morning by two professional associations of realtors who monitor and analyze market trends.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported that residential home sales in July 2020 totalled 3,128, a 28 per cent increase from the previous month, and a 22.3 per cent increase from July 2019.

"We're seeing the results today of pent up activity, from both home buyers and sellers, that had been accumulating in our market through the year," said REBGV Chair Colette Gerber in a news release.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) reported 2,100 residential sales in July 2020, a 22.2 percent increase from the previous month, and up 44 per cent compared to July 2019.

Both boards indicated that low interest rates and limited overall supply in some areas are increasing competition and putting upward pressure on home prices.

In Greater Vancouver, July 2020 sales were 9.4 per cent above the 10-year July sales average.

In the Fraser Valley, sales were 25.5 per cent above the 10-year average for the month, making it the second-highest number of property sales ever recorded in July.

Chris Shields, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, called it a seller's market for townhomes and single-family homes.

"For every 100 active detached listings (in North Delta, Cloverdale, Langley, Abbotsford, and Mission)," Shields said in a news release, "40 or more sold in July."

Shields also said the housing market is "significantly ahead" of what was anticipated, given the pandemic.

In both regions, the jump of single family home sales in July year-over-year, is greater than the jump for townhomes or the condo market.

For example, sales of detached homes in Greater Vancouver in July 2020 jumped 33.3 per cent compared to July 2019, while townhomes were up 28.3 percent and condos 12.6 per cent.

Realtor Mark Deans with Royal Pacific Realty, who just sold a four bedroom South Surrey townhome in two weeks, said he’s seen sellers who found they need more space during the pandemic looking to upsize. He’s also seen those who want the equity from larger homes in their pockets amidst COVID-19 uncertainty looking to sell.

And Deans, with the Dawson Realty Experts marketing group, indicated they all seem to have one thing in common.

"People are looking forward,” he said. "They’re not in a holding pattern. So I think it’s a new normal."

That includes the sellers of Deans’ latest listing, a 767 square foot one-bedroom, one-bath, in the Queen Charlotte, a heritage building built in Vancouver’s West End in the 1920s.

The top floor unit has high ceilings, an upgraded kitchen and bathroom, along with a dining room area that’s now been transformed into a home office.

"People's lives have changed," Deans said, before adding that he already has more than one potential buyer interested.

As for what the rest of the year could hold, Deans said while no one has a crystal ball, those buyers currently entering the market have confidence about their jobs or income stream.

And Gerber with the REBGV added that right now both buyers and sellers are serious, and not testing the waters.

She added that all parties have gotten used to COVID-19 protocols, which Deans explained include open houses by appointment only, wearing masks and booties, and completing health disclosures.

“There could be a pull back on sales if the economy shuts down (in a second wave),” Gerber said, "But I think we’ll continue to see activity because there’s a new way of doing it."


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